We use Lightning cables every day to charge up our iPhones and iPads: It's no surprise that eventually you're going to notice some wear and tear, especially if you carry a single cable around to charge in multiple places. Just take a second and think about everything your average Lightning cable goes through over the course of a month in your possession. Chances are, you've yanked it out of a few wall outlets to change charging locations, brought it out to your car and stuffed it in your center console between trips around the city, and even shoved it — tangled and twisted — into the odd bag. That's all normal wear and tear that will eventually kill your Apple Lightning cable, and nothing sucks more than having a destroyed charging cable when you really need it.
Here's the thing: The Lightning cable you get from Apple when you purchase an iPhone or iPad is, at best, mediocre. The cable is functional and will charge your device just fine, but it often doesn't stand the test of time. As such, you can prevent a lot of frustration by picking up some more robust cables.
Nylon-braided cables are superior
A good-quality nylon-braided cable is going to last you a lot longer than the cable Apple ships to you in the box. The woven exterior of the cable not only provides crucial structural integrity that will prevent tearing and fraying from everyday use, but also helps it withstand especially extreme forms of punishment.
I have been rolling with Hiway's Lightning nylon-braided cables (opens in new tab) for about a year and couldn't be happier. I've been carrying them around every day, where they've befallen all sorts of issues that would have ruined lesser cables: getting caught in the zipper of my backpack, for instance, or being twisted up every way imaginable. After all that, they still charge my iPhone and iPad without incident.
Quality cables are often cheaper!
The best part about getting quality cables is you don't have to spend a fortune. Many tougher third-party Lightning cables are even cheaper than Apple's default versions.
For instance, Apple's basic Lightning to USB cable at $19 (opens in new tab); the third-party market price on Lightning cables is often much lower. The cables I have been using came in a 3-pack for $11 (opens in new tab)!
That said, you shouldn't just pick the first $11 three-pack you see on Amazon: There are plenty of cheap knockoff cables that not only won't last — they may harm your battery in the long term with subpar charging.
Here, research is your best friend: To avoid picking up third-party cables that don't work (or work poorly), your first look should be to the cable's brand. AmanzonBasics, Anker, Aukey, Native Union, and RAVPower all have reputations for producing excellent and reliable products; if you're anxious about purchasing third-party cables, stick with one of these brands.
If you're considering a different brand (or want to see the differences between each brand), you can also check out Amazon reviews. Take a little bit of time to read through some of the reviews and look for high star-ratings. If you see a cable with 300 or more reviews and it has a 4.5 or 5-star rating, you're far less likely to end up with a dud. Also look for companies which respond quickly to customer complaints or offer good return programs; on the off-chance you do receive a malfunctioning cord, you won't lose out.
Don't want to do the research? Don't sweat it: We've also done a bunch of digging to find some great tough Lightning cable options for our readers.
To all a good night
We hope this tip helped, and do let us know your thoughts on tougher lightning cables — do you invest in them, or use Apple's cables? Do you have any tips to keep weaker cables from fraying?
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Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way.
Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.
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